Massimo A. Nobili aka Úlfgaldr Valtýsson was born in Milan, Italy, in 1959. Already at the age of 13 he “heard the call,” and at 16 he met a rune master who guided him on the path of the German-Scandinavian tradition and spirituality. At 21, he went to Scandinavia for his first research and then repeatedly visited Sweden, Norway and Lapland for his works, practices and to strengthen the internal connection with the North. Later, at the age of 24, Massimo was faced with a problem: in order to continue his practice and research, he needed to move from Milan somewhere closer to nature and away from cities. After four years in Alessandria, in 1986 he stayed at Valle d’Aosta at the foot of the Alps.
From there, from the 1990s, he began to spread the teachings of the northern tradition and Scandinavian shamanism. Already in 2015, after a couple of years of pause, he with a new force invested in the spread of tradition and shamanic practices in Northern Europe. He founded the cultural association “Άsa-Ódhinn”, with the aim of promoting the revival of the old Northern Tradition and spirituality and the dissemination of the practices he received. And also to create a common place to meet and support practitioners nowadays.
In 2018 he published his first book in Italian, “The History of Scandinavian Shamanism: From Its Roots to the Present Day”. In February 2019, Massimo founded the eponymous commonwealth “Kindred Άsa-Ódhinn”, which included seven more people, and it became the first Asatru Folk Assembly chapter in Italy. In the same year, his second book, “Runes: the Secret Knowledge”, was published.
Askr Svarte: Asatru is a Folkish tradition. How can you explain the participation of Italians in the revival of the German-Scandinavian tradition? With fact that historically Rome and Germany were in tough hostility.
Massimo Nobili: It is necessary first of all to remember that the people of the Lombards carried out arrived in Italy in 568 D.c. and established his kingdom throughout the territory until 774 AD The capital was Pavia, in Lombardy. Even the name of the same region recalls the Lombard people. Their religion was Arianism and only in the seventh century did they convert to Catholicism. Italians therefore also have descendants and ancestors among the Germanic peoples who followed the cult of Odin.
Beyond this scientific datum, we must also take into account what I call “the roots of blood”, the spiritual DNA that brings the individual closer to the Gods even if his territory of origin is not strictly Scandinavian.
As it is known, the word “shamanism” is of Turkic origin and it is strongly connected with the social functions of the healer and the conductor of souls to other worlds. Can you define what shamanism is for the Northern Tradition and how was it authenticly called in antiquity?
Here the thing gets a little more complicated.
Odin is recognized as a shamanic god. Proof of this are the sacrifices he makes on Yggdrasill and giving his eye to the Source of Mimir. Many of his qualities are shamanic. Northern Shamanism is a bit different from the more well-known Asian typology. We know, for example, that the Sacred Warriors were dedicated to Odin-Wotan, Berserker and Úlfheðnar who were themselves shamans, although their use was only for war. I do not know there are similar figures in any other type of shamanism. It is different yet to lead souls to the afterlife. Traditionally it is not the shaman who does this, but it is the Valkyrie, daughters of Odin, or Odin himself. A shaman becomes such because he embraces the cult of the Great Father totally and without reserve. Nordic shamanism, as far as my experience is concerned, is a practice that connects you directly to Odin: it is He who calls you and offers you this possibility. In a certain sense, the individual must become like the Great Father: losing his individuality for a greater good. This is why the shaman often acquires one of the names of Odin. He acquires one of the names of the First Shaman who came to Earth to protect and teach men. There is no rule to identify the call. But he who is called knows he is. But this is only the first step.
Did the ancient Germans and Scandinavians use any intoxicating or hallucinogenic substances in shamanic practices?
The Amanita muscaria cuticle. But often Bragafull was also used, the ritual drink designed to carry the spirit of the god within himself.
Which modern or classical authors influenced your views and who would you recommend to reading for asatruas?
I’ve never read much, preferring Practice to theory. Undoubtedly, Mircea Eliade and Davide Melzi for Shamanism and for Tradition Mario Polia and Nigel Pennik.
How did your experience and practices affect you personally, your attitude to the modern world and your everyday life?
I had my first call when I was 13 years old. At 16 I met my Erilaz. Today I am 60 years old. The path that follows is that of Άsa-Ódhinn and I have always tried to bring it into everyday life. I didn’t always succeed. Human beings are imperfect and fallible and certainly not error free. But we are also here to find out who we are and what we need to do. And this discovery cannot be without errors. When I fall I try to get up and resume being and behaving in what I believe.
As is known, the most important event in the German-Scandinavian tradition is Ragnarok. How do you interpret the eschatological myth in the Northern Tradition, what does it mean for you personally?
The necessary zeroing of the lack of values of this age and of those who have caused it for too many centuries. Everything is cyclical: this is a concept of both the Nordic and universal Traditions. We are touching the bottom. But it is the only way to recover.
And the final question: What could you advise or wish to the Russian-speaking asatru followers?
In such difficult times my wish for the Russian-speaking brothers but also for all the Ásatruar of this world is to overcome any internal differences that exist and to look far ahead. Faith and active devotion to the Gods. What matters is only the facts, not the words. And the Gods expect the facts from their children. We need union and to know that change is at the door and that the Ásatruar will do their part.
“Rune: la Conoscenza Arcana”
A completely different approach to Runes.
The Arcane runes take into consideration the three series: Creation, Manifestation, Fight and Renewal by placing them with a different sequence than the one most commonly known.
A traditional approach that takes into account the historical, mythological and spiritual context of the archaic populations of northern Europe, analyzing fundamental traits of the Myth.
Each rune is explained in detail starting from its graphic composition necessary for a correct and complete understanding of it.
Spiritual exercises and methods for their magical use complete this book which does not lack practical indications for everyday life.
“Sulle tracce dello Sciamanesimo Scandinavo: dalle sue radici ai giorni nostril”
A journey to discover Scandinavian Shamanism by investigating the Mythical Time before the fall and introducing the creation of the Universe by comparing Runes and ancient symbols of other cultures.
A path that develops along the extremity of the Asian continent, and then turns towards the north and, through the Urals, reaching Europe. a careful analysis of the main elements – Sleipnir, Yggdrasill and Rune – with in-depth and innovative research on the figure of Odin. peculiarities and specificities of Scandinavian Shamanism that include approaches to the Runes, and to the Guerriere Brotherhoods of the Berserkir and Úlfheðnar, are to come to the present day and understand what is left today.